Preventing Temper Tantrums in Parents

Posted: November 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Someone just cut my mom off. My ears are burning.

You know how it is:  You were supposed to be out the door for preschool 20 minutes ago,  you’re naked and suddenly your mom’s screaming bloody murder about the stable you’re building in the living room for your My Little Ponies using chairs laid on their sides, a laundry basket and wet grass pulled from the backyard (they’ve got to eat right?) Such a drag.

So, what do you do when a parent loses it?

The truth is, some parents are more prone to tantrums than others. If you’re lucky to have one of those mellow moms, more power to you. My mom on the other hand blows a gasket on a regular basis.

Meltdowns for parents are not cause for alarm. They’re simply a way for them to vent frustration when, during their job’s restructuring phase, they’ve been told they now report to someone 15 years their junior.

My mom’s been having tantrums as long as I can remember. When I was a toddler it was so easy to push her to the edge by hurling food off of my high chair in my ‘gravity versus weight ratio’ experiments. You could set your watch by it.

Unfortunately, parental temper tantrums are a part of life but there are ways of preventing them before they start:

Avoid situations likely to ignite a tantrum.

If your mom is on the phone with Budget Car Rental trying to figure out why one full month after she rented a car she’s suddenly being charged for a scratch on the bumper it’s not a good time to sing the The Itsy Bitsy Spider song at the top of your lungs substituting the word “spider” with “poo.” Most moms, I’m sorry to say, cannot appreciate the absurdist utilization of the non sequitur. I, however, think it’s freakin’ hilarious.

Give your parent the illusion of control.

When your parent is desperately trying to do the laundry and get dinner together let them choose if they want to play Candyland 20 times in a row OR engage in a round of Ariel verses the Polly Pocket army.  These little choices won’t make much of a difference to you, but they’ll make your parent feel as though they at least some control over their own life — even though we know better.

Let them believe they are the best drivers in the world.

First thing you’ve got to understand about parents: They think everyone is a shitty driver except them. With that in mind they are likely to lose their temper multiple times in one car trip. Calm them down by parroting back exactly what they yell out the window at the offending “crappy” driver.  Remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Make sure your parent is well-rested.

A tired parent is a cranky parent. If you got up at 5AM and now it’s 10PM and you’re in the middle of a bedtime filibuster/puppet show your parents are likely to go all Charlie Sheen on your ass. Let them get at least 4 hours of continuous asleep (unless of course you need a drink of water, a doll that’s fallen on the floor, protection from monsters, or just an impromptu chat during the night.)

Comments
  1. Wendy Thomas says:

    GREAT article!!! I may need to have my eight year old read it. I’m not one of those mellow parents most of the time. I’m easy going, but when my buttons are pushed I get loud about it.

  2. Devlin says:

    Lily, I find that for all their bellyaching, parents still need to be needed. Which is why I like them to watch me go potty. It takes them away from their “work” or “calls to bill collectors” or some other mundane task and gives them what they really want… to feel like they’re still important.

    I don’t need them to watch me go potty. But, deep down inside, they do.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I just put a bra on my toddler son’s head so I could leave this comment. And finish my…um…”business” in the bathroom. I like to pride myself on my multitasking skills.
    Could you send me a hard copy of this for him to read? I could use some backup!
    :) Love it!

  4. Kristine says:

    Oh Lily, I love this blog! :)

  5. iamthediva says:

    finally! advice i can use!!

  6. MamaButterfly says:

    You are so, so funny! I would totally read here every day if you would consider toning down the profanity a tad. <3 Thanks for giving me a smile tonight and reminding me that I'm not the only mama lost in the land of Polly and My Little Pony! :]

  7. Rachelle says:

    Well said!! I’m so glad I found your hilarious blog. This post made me laugh so hard that there were tears in my eyes.

  8. danielle says:

    I’ve lost my shit so many times today (yes, I’m a temper tantrum mom), I’ve lost count. I think my daughter secretly loves it because she’ll lose her shit then I’ll lose mine and we go on like this all day. like a good rally in tennis.

  9. Opto-Mom says:

    Lily, you are fabulous! Thanks for the tips. Now I’ll know how to prevent myself from having temper tantrums.

  10. Angela says:

    You are a genius.

  11. Melissa Haynie says:

    Gosh I am glad I read both the blog and the comments…. because I SERIOUSLY felt that I was the only mom that had temper tantrums, and it made me feel HORRIBLE. I loved this… I may keep it open constantly so I can refer to it REGULARLY!

  12. Stacey K says:

    I think my kids need to read this. I am QUEEN of the Mama tantrum.

  13. Nicole says:

    Hillarious!!

  14. Clare says:

    LOVE. THIS. I can be a tantrum-er at 36. Totally guilty.

  15. Karen DeBolt says:

    I am laughing so hard Lily! These are some great tips! Here I have been trying to help Mamas to help their children to not have tantrums. Now I realize that I have been doing it all backwards. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways and a good laugh.

  16. katepickle says:

    ha ha ha ha this is fabulous!!!!!!!
    I chuck tantrums way better and bigger than any of my kids!

  17. michele says:

    Please write every day. No, twice a day, no, three times a day, no… I’m sure you see where I’m going!

  18. GM3576 says:

    Really enjoyed this! Please don’t tone it down love it the way it is!! ;)

  19. This is absolutely awesome!!!! Hilarious.
    xx
    http://husbands4hire.wordpress.com

  20. Mel says:

    I’m in my 30’s and my mother still thinks she is in control. Now I just ignore her and everything is fine.

  21. This is my first visit to your blog. And it is awesome. Awesome!

    There’s never a bad time to play with My Little Ponies. Never.

  22. Marie-Louise says:

    You are so funny!

    Unfortunately I had one of those tantrums this morning, after having told my boys AT LEAST 25 times to put on their socks, shoes and coats for kindergarten…..And when we finally made it into the car we came across these REALLY bad drivers….And when we arrived in kindergarten, my oldest son (5) wet his pants (and I did not have any left as he had wet 3 the day before and his little brother wet the other 2 clean ones…).

    Anyway, your advice is very solid and welcome, thanks!

  23. Annie says:

    So funny!

  24. Barbara says:

    I have a hard time with the swearing but it is a great read!. Very funny! Thanks for the fun!

  25. Jaime S says:

    Lily – you are so awesome!

  26. Faye says:

    Oh man I love this! First visit to your blog and I have subscribed…too funny and what a great perspective. I am so much a temper tantrum mummy. Thank you Lily for understanding us and bringing awareness to our plight. x

  27. Very Funny, this made my day :)

  28. This is so funny. I haven’t been to this blog before today, but I will now. It is too funnty.

  29. Jan Hunt says:

    What a wonderful blog! It’s so rare to see a child’s perspective presented, and in such a humorous and engaging way!

    Our vision is “a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion”. To reach that goal, we need to help everyone see things fom the child’s eyes. I’ve often said this is a challenging goal, because children, being young and inexperienced, have no spokespersons. Now they have!

    BTW I’ve written an article from a baby’s perspective: “The Critical Importance of a Child’s First Years: a Baby Speaks”: http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/babyspeaks.html .

    Best wishes,
    Jan Hunt, Director
    Natural Child Project

  30. [...] From “Preventing Temper Tantrums in Parents” – Bedtimes Are For Suckers [...]

  31. This is still being shared on Facebook and now we found it ! LOVE IT. I tested in humour rank out on my 13 year old son – he almost peed his pants. laughing. But stopped just in time because he knows that his parental unit may explode if she ever has to clean child fluids from the floor again.

  32. Kim Cormack says:

    Love this its frackin amazing ;)

  33. mysti says:

    ironically enough, my daughter’s name is Lily. She has problems, but if I ever caught her even reading or thinking about the words you use, it would be over. Someone please tell me this is written by a mother…

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